Insights on markets, emergent trends, history, innovation, risk management, global economics, strategy, policy, and other topics that catch our attention. Inspired by ongoing research, conversations and events. Written and edited by Osbon Capital Management and published every Thursday morning.

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2024 will bring more positive novel surprises. New years always do. In 2023, it was the dramatic acceleration in AI, which touches nearly every industry, and the early stages of an answer to the obesity epidemic with GLP-1s. Here is a list of what’s on our minds going into 2024.

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Hu’s number one? Well, it depends who you ask.

Quick, what’s the largest emerging market in the world?  Most people would say China, and measured by gross domestic product that’s clearly the case, by a wide margin. But for investors Brazil is a rising power with a bigger than expected presence in emerging market index funds.

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Where’s the greed?

Tales of Wall Street greed and grifting are as old as the Buttonwood Tree itself. Outrage continues to flare over reckless borrowing, insider trading, and elaborate Ponzi schemes, not to mention stupendous pay packages for executives who created investment products that nearly destroyed our financial systems. But here’s one tale of greed that never was, the story of an investing powerhouse…

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Would you lend money to the governor?

When you buy a Massachusetts general obligation municipal bond, that’s what you’re doing – lending money to Governor Deval Patrick and our other elected officials. Of course they promise to pay you back, with regular interest payments along the way. But will they, or those who follow them in office, be able to?

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What does an 800-pound gorilla say?

Whatever it wants.  When the gorilla is Vanguard, the world’s largest mutual fund manager with $1.6 trillion in assets and the fund company that attracted more new assets in 2010 than any other, the gorilla is worth listening to.

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Winning Without Predicting

Byron R. Wien, Vice Chairman, Blackstone Advisory Services, has one of the best prediction records in the business.  Over the last 25 years he has released his “10 Surprises” each January. Statistically, he has been right more than wrong.  The bonus is that is he humble and open-minded, so he is definitely worth reading to test one’s own investment assumptions…

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Another Year of Surprises

Welcome to 2011. You would have to be a mental magician to remember exactly what you were thinking a year ago today as 2010 popped its head up over the horizon. What I recall is that most investors, rocked by the disaster of 2008 and unconvinced by the partial rebound of 2009, were feeling pretty skittish going into 2010. That…

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Gold’s value is its difference

There seem to be as many opinions today on the current price of gold as there are letters in the alphabet. Let’s look at the cold hard ABCs of gold for some clues on investment strategy.

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The rarity of an “average” year

Barring any big market swings in the last few days of 2010, the year’s performance will be pretty average. The S&P 500 is up about 9 percent for the year, very close to the index’s annualized total return of 8.8 percent for the period 1988 to 2009.

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